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Experts Warn of Link Between Tattoos and Cancer

Before you run off and get that tattoo — or add another one to your body — you might want to read a new study showing that chemicals in the inks can migrate around your body, accumulate in your lymph nodes and obstruct your ability to fight infections. According to, tattoo ink contains heavy metals such as nickel, chromium, manganese, cobalt and titanium dioxide — a component of white ink that is known to increase a person’s risk of developing cancer. The research was published in the journals Scientific Reports and Nature.

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and proper skin care is a vital part of maintaining good health. Tattoos are popular — over a fifth of U.S. adults now sport them — but I’m wondering how many actually consider the down side of tattoos before getting them? From ongoing pain to allergy symptoms and infections, tattoos sometimes come at an unwelcome cost.

In fact, more than 10 percent of those with tattoos have reported abnormal reactions, with 6 percent developing itching, scaly skin and swelling. Titanium dioxide nanoparticles, particularly, have been connected to neurological dysfunction and genetic disorders, along with the cancer the latest research shows is possible. Red and black pigments have been implicated in health complications too — and all the inks are unregulated, meaning they may contain any number of potential health problems without you knowing it.

The same goes for the 13,000 chemicals used in cosmetics, of which only 10 percent are safety tested. Sad to say, even when you report a bad reaction to a manufacturer, it may not go any further, meaning the number of adverse events from exposure to personal care products is likely underreported. This was found true in 2014 when only 127 event reports were reported to the U.S. FDA about WEN haircare, when the company had actually received over 21,000 complaints.
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